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That Spark of Connection Back in the days of my Dark Night Journey, I worked hard to define what I meant by “spirit” and “spiritual.” What my reasoning mind came up with was an analogy: Just as our eyes are physical organs of sight, designed or evolved to detect certain frequencies of electromagnetic radiation, our spirits are as-yet-unidentified organs of relationship. (I hear Isaac Penington raising a Friendly alarm against this rationalistic formulation.)

On Normality (July 2022)

All Our Histories To the editor: Mackenzie Barton-Rowledge begins her article in the May/June 2022 issue of Western Friend with her grandfather, modeling the integrity she is seeking from Quakers in North Pacific Yearly Meeting (NPYM). She calls attention to one set of family histories in NPYM, which she calls a “settler-majority” community. I am writing to remind us that there are other family histories in NPYM, too.

On Normality (July 2022)

Friendly Access for Inclusion The following text was transcribed from a recording of an interest group at Intermountain Yearly Meeting (IMYM), where Gale Toko-Ross was a co-Presiding Clerk and Rosemary Blanchard was the meeting’s ombudsperson for accessibility concerns.

On Cooperation (September 2022)

God’s Loving Eyes We are seen by God’s loving eyes.  The greatest spiritual battle begins – and never ends – with the reclaiming of our chosenness. Long before any human being saw us, we are seen by God’s loving eyes. Long before anyone heard us cry or laugh, we are heard by our God who is all ears for us. Long before any person spoke to us in this world, we are spoken to by the voice of eternal love.                         – Henri Nouwen (1993)

On Cooperation (September 2022)

Thanks for History of Gun Laws To the Editor: Wow. Bill Durland’s piece on the Second Amendment and gun control was clear and educational. I must have slept through civics class. I learned a lot about different levels of the law and about the duty of the judicial system to balance the right to individual freedom against the right to be safe and secure. For example, one does not have the right to shout “Fire” in a crowded movie theater. No right is absolute and unlimited, including the right to bear arms. Bill is a gift to us Quakers and the greater society. Thank you, Bill. And thank you, Mary, for publishing it.

On Cooperation (September 2022)

The Life and Religious Labors of Lloyd Lee Wilson (review) To be precise, the title of this book is: Memoir of the Life and Religious Labors of Lloyd Lee Wilson, a Minister of the Gospel of the Religious Society of Friends, Particularly of North Carolina Yearly Meeting (Conservative), to describe the workings of the Lord in the various stages of my life, showing how God is at work in all things for good, whether we perceive it so or not, and how our surrender to divine providence allows God’s work to be done in and through us for the advancement of the Realm of God.

On Cooperation (September 2022)

Botany on an Endangered Planet I have spent my whole life learning about the natural world. I am a professional botanist whose career was focused for fifty-plus years on trying to use science to understand and “save” specific unusual components of our earth’s ecosystems. I have learned a lot about climate change over the many years since Al Gore published Earth in the Balance in 1992, which my life partner, Dr. Charles Avery, used as a textbook in his Northern Arizona University conservation classes.  However, in recent decades, I have become increasingly sad, frustrated, angry, and sometimes depressed that humans in general, and climate-change-deniers in particular, are threatening the health of our whole earth.

On Science (November 2022)

Revolutionary Nonviolence Dear Editor: I was delighted to see an article about Lawrence and Viola Scott and their Quaker activities in the “Pages for All Ages” section of the July/August 2022 issue of Western Friend.

On Science (November 2022)

Olive Rush’s Legacy Dear Friends: Some of you might be interested in further information on the significant Quaker artist, Olive Rush. My article “Olive Rush and Her Legacy” was published in Western Friend in the March/April, 2020 issue. The Santa Fe Monthly Meeting is still wrestling with the issues of preserving her legacy. However, the decision on the future of the Olive Rush Studio and its collection seems relevant to a broader Quaker community and not just one small meeting. In March 2022, I presented a slide lecture on Olive Rush’s mural paintings for the National New Deal Preservation Association of New Mexico. A copy of that presentation, “Olive Rush’s Paintings on the Walls of New Mexico,” is posted online. You can view it at: tinyurl.com/OliveRushPresentation

On Science (November 2022)